Discovering Pig Magic

Discovering Pig Magic

3.5 2
by Julie Crabtree

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Discovering Pig Magic follows the exploits of Mattie (or Miss M, or just M) and her friends Ariel and Nicki as they attempt to overcome the problems that plague their 13-year-old lives. After finding a book of spells, the three girls perform a ritual that will grant each the object of her desire. This requires that they each bury a special object. Ariel


Discovering Pig Magic follows the exploits of Mattie (or Miss M, or just M) and her friends Ariel and Nicki as they attempt to overcome the problems that plague their 13-year-old lives. After finding a book of spells, the three girls perform a ritual that will grant each the object of her desire. This requires that they each bury a special object. Ariel buries a tiny antique spoon; Nicki puts in a thumb-sized leather mother-and-child doll; and Miss M contributes a small ceramic pig with real gold inlays. When the magic starts to take effect, the girls' longed-for wishes carry unintended, and unwelcome, consequences. Breaking the spell before something really bad happens becomes crucial, but doing so may be too much even for these resourceful friends. Julie Crabtree's wonderfully funny novel captures the everyday lives of three quirky, engaging girls, and shows that some wishes may be better left unfulfilled.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Melissa Joy Adams
It is Mattie's thirteenth birthday and what does she get for presents? Pig pillows, pig earrings, pig paperweights, and more pig-themed objects! Everyone thinks Mattie loves pigs, when in reality she stopped liking them years ago. Mattie wants to break free from this childhood association, but does not know how to tell anyone. She tried a few years ago, but then her father left her mother and Mattie could not bring herself to create more upheaval. Now after discovering an old book of magic, with an overwhelming pig collection and a depressed, agoraphobic mother, Mattie decides it is time for a change. Together with her two best friends, Ariel and Nicki, she performs one of the magic rituals—a ritual for change, something each girl desperately wants. As each girl waits to see their lives magical transformed for the better, catastrophes begin to happen. Thinking that it is the cause of all their new problems, the girls want to reverse their ritual. Will the girls succeed in destroying the magic before it destroys them? Readers will connect with Mattie's engaging voice and be entranced by her story, which is more about relationships with family and friends than about magic. Crabtree's novel offers a look at agoraphobia and depression from a child's perspective, and provides a nice springboard for discussing these two topics. Reviewer: Melissa Joy Adams
KLIATT - Ashleigh Larsen
Mattie, known by friends and family as M, adventures through the age of 13 with hopes, fears, and two best friends, Ariel and Nicki. While M is busy with a collection of pig memorabilia and a mom who won't leave the house, Ariel is determined to become the next Rachel Ray and Nicki deals with a host of family secrets. Just when they need a plan to help them in their struggles, they stumble across an old book of magic spells. After performing a ritual that promises to bring luck to their lives, the three friends look for any signs that the spell might be working. But things don't go quite as well as expected—Nickie's brother has an even smaller chance of surviving his heart surgery; M is humiliated with more piggy collector's items, while her mother's phobia about leaving the house grows worse; and Ariel wins a cooking contest with a stolen recipe. The trio finally realizes that things are spinning out of control. Before it's too late, can they break the mystical forces that are directing their lives—and keep their friendship? The three girls learn that their actions permanently affect their futures; and the value of friendship and honest emotions permeate this novel, as the characters discover who they are and how they can be there for their friends. Reviewer: Ashleigh Larsen
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

Thirteen-year-old Matilda and her friends Nicki and Ariel bury "sacred things" using a ritual from a magic book she found. Their lives change, getting worse before getting better. Matilda is a sensitive girl, sick of the gifts with pig themes that she gets for every occasion because of an obsession she had when she was four. Her father has left, and her mother is sinking into agoraphobia. Ariel, a gourmet cook at 13, won $200 for a recipe she plagiarized. And Nicki hides her baby brother's health problems from the other two. Close to death, he later recovers too easily. When the girls decide to sneak out during a sleepover at Matilda's house to undo the ritual, their plans collapse when Matilda's aunt finds out. Ariel and Nicki find solutions within themselves while Matilda, still believing in its magic, goes to undo their ritual herself. When she sees her crush with Ariel, she takes her anger out on her pig collection. Matilda's mother slowly, believably, gets better, the friends reconcile, and Matilda realizes that the pigs represent fond memories. Their San Francisco suburb provides a keen sense of place. Discovering Pig Magic is a reflection on friendship, responsibility, and hope. The author takes these virtues seriously, but her story needs to be livelier to be magical.-Tina Zubak, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA

Product Details

Milkweed Editions
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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Discovering Pig Magic 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Miss M, Ariel, and Nicki have just entered seventh grade and are learning that being thirteen is a strange feeling. Growing up is never easy, and not only are they changing, but school, family, and friends are changing, too.

Ariel aspires to be the next cooking superstar, Mattie is dealing with divorced parents and a mom who won't leave the house (plus her strange collection of pigs), and Nicki has secrets about her family she hasn't yet shared.

After finding an old magic book, the girls decide that this is their year, and set out to perform a magic ritual in the hopes that things will start anew and being a teenager will begin on an exciting path.

But dabbling in magic and making wishes doesn't always turn out the way you hope, and things start to take a turn for the worse. The girls find themselves in sticky situations and their friendship tested. Can they undo the magic?

This may sound like a paranormal fantasy, but it's really a sweet, charming, coming-of-age story with the magic taking a backseat. Julie Crabtree has captured the middle school transition and tween voice perfectly. I would recommend this one for young teen girls who enjoy friendship stories. This would also make a great tween book club choice.